Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Your Thanksgiving Survival Guide

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, as happens with the major holidays, there are a number of articles popping up about 'how to survive whatever holiday this is'. Like this one, for example, about Thanksgiving travel.

But when you look through the article, there is not a single survival tip in there. It's just stuff about busy airports and gas prices. This more general 'survival' guide talks about things like how to compliment the cook afterwards.

Now, I'm all for helping people make Thanksgiving easier on themselves. Butterball has a helpline open every year for people who are having problems preparing dinner. But let's talk about that term, 'survival'.

'Survival' means to preserve one's life. We are not talking about anything close to that here. We are talking about making things less awkward and yelly. This is making a headline sing for the sake of a couple extra clicks.

So if we're going to have a Thanksgiving survival guide, let's be literal about it. I present some tips now on how to literally survive Thanksgiving.

RULE #1: Do not substitute yourself for the turkey.

I cannot stress this enough. Any role normally performed by the turkey is to be performed by the turkey. Do not feel sorry for the turkey. The turkey is dead. Do not have yourself basted (not fatal, but unpleasant and creepy). Do not have yourself basted in your own juices (more unpleasant and perhaps more harmful, depending on the juices, and perhaps even illegal). Do not jump into the oven. Do not dive into the deep-fryer, if you have one. Do not encourage people to 'stuff' you in the way one would stuff a turkey. Do not request that someone pull out your giblets. The police may regard these things as suicide attempts, or even homicide if someone else is involved.

And under no circumstances are you to be carved and eaten during a football game. That's just right out.

RULE #2: Only eat the food.

Preferably, only eat the prepared food, as someone worked to make that dinner, but that's just etiquette. In order to SURVIVE Thanksgiving, you must at least limit yourself to edible foodstuffs and potable beverages. Make sure all food to be eaten has not turned a strange and unusual color. (What is 'strange and unusual' depends on the food eaten. A color that is normal for cranberry sauce is not normal for the turkey.) Make sure you only eat food that has been intended to be food. Do not eat the plates. They are hard, may harm your teeth, and hard plastic shards can cut up your insides. Do not reach below the sink and eat all the rat poison. Do not head out to the driveway and drink out of your car's gas tank. Do not eat the carving knife. Do not make a valiant effort to eat the carving knife. If you are using plastic cutlery, eating a spork is generally not going to be fatal, unless you choke on a piece of plastic, but it will possibly result in a hospital stay.

RULE #3: Have common sense regarding extra activities.

Some people manage to burn down their house when deep-frying a turkey, so do be careful there. You definitely don't want to add any extra flair to the process; it is quite interesting to see on its own. Do not go out into space, find a turkey or turkey-like object 60% of the size of the Earth, and attempt to drop it into your deep fryer at escape velocity (e.g. the speed at which a large object would drop if placed barely within Earth's gravitational pull and left alone). The impact would potentially destroy the Earth, not to mention the difficulty of getting the turkey to fit inside of your deep fryer.

One other thing you must do is remember, if you play any football outside, not to take fantasies too far. Jerome Bettis may have been known as the 'Bus', but refrain from driving one when playing. When throwing a 'bomb', do not actually throw one. When 'blitzing' the quarterback, do not drop bombs on London while you do so.

RULE #4: Adhere to basic societal norms, except when it can no longer be helped.

These are family and friends you're having over for dinner. Please remember that. It is preferable that you be nice and personable, but that's merely etiquette. To SURVIVE Thanksgiving, you must refrain from permitting your family members to stab you with their knife, pouring gasoline all over the place, burning the house along with any survivors, and then going on a five-state killing spree where they make puppet shows from the intestines of their victims before finally succumbing to police in a violent shootout that leaves the nation shocked and horrified right in the middle of Christmas season.

This may require vigilance on your part. You never know what those people are thinking. Maybe they remember that time you swiped the last of the potato chips and it's just been festering and stewing within them for years. You may need to incapacitate them first. Chloroform and a rag works well, though only for the first target. After this, your remaining family will be appalled. They may move to restrain you. It's a trick. You must overpower them. If you know you cannot do so, your only hope is to trick them back. Ply them with sweet potatoes, throw them into the middle of the room, and escape while they are distracted.

Then run! Run for your life! Run for the hills! Run to SURVIVE THANKSGIVING!

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